@GTMBB Hosts No. 19/18 Notre Dame
14th meeting between the Jackets and Fighting Irish tips at 8 p.m. Saturday at McCamish Pavilion
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-9 ACC) returns home for the first of two straight home games when No. 19/18 Notre Dame (18-7, 9-4 ACC) comes to Atlanta for a prime time, nationally-televised rematch at 8 p.m. Saturday at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech, winner of two of its last three games, is coming off an 86-80 victory at Florida State, its second road win in the ACC this season. Tech’s ACC wins this season have come by an average of 5.5 points, while its ACC losses have come by a total of 60 points, an average of 6.7 points per game. The Yellow Jackets are 2-4 at home in ACC games this season, 10-5 overall.
Notre Dame has won its last three games, including a pair of home wins over top-25 teams (North Carolina and Louisville) and a road win over Clemson, returning the Fighting Irish to the top 25 in both the AP and coaches polls. The Irish are 3-3 on the road on ACC games this season.
Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage of the game is provided by the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM). The game can also be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 84, XM ch. 84).
• Notre Dame has won the last four meetings in the series, including a 72-64 victory on Jan. 13 in South Bend this season. Tech won the first matchup between the two teams when the Fighting Irish joined the ACC, a 74-69 triumph on Jan. 11, 2014 at McCamish Pavilion. The Irish took a 62-59 win in Atlanta last season.
• Tech’s 13 ACC games have been decided by an average of 6.2 points, only one by double digits (66-52 at Clemson).
• Tech’s overall strength of schedule is the 20th strongest in the CBSSports.com RPI rankings (through games of Feb. 17). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule strength is rated No. 97.
• ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Tech No. 53 with an overall schedule strength of No. 4.
• Dating back to the 2014 ACC Tournament, 22 of Tech’s 26 losses to ACC teams in that period have been decided by nine points or fewer.
• Tech has a minus-0.45 “Luck” rating, KenPom.com’s measure of a team’s number of close games and its success in them. The Jackets rank No. 279 in that category, or to look at it another way, the 75th unluckiest team in the country. Tech was No. 323 out of 354 last year.
• According to KenPom.com, Tech has the ninth most experienced roster in the nation, with an average number of years experience at 2.37.
• Still relentless on the boards - Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 7.0 per game, which ranks 26th in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 21 of 26 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 4 in the ACC and 23rd nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.6).
• Turnovers down - Tech is averaging 10.6 turnovers this season (5th in the ACC, 23rd NCAA), down 2.1 per game (12.7) from last season. Tech has averaged 10.5 turnovers in ACC play, the fourth-lowest figure among the 15 teams.
• Scoring up - Tech is averaging 74.9 points per game, more than 11 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have scored 72.1 per ACC game, also 11 points per game better than last year’s average.
• Outside threat - Tech’s 35.0-percent success rate from three-point range is up eight percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 33.8 percent against the ACC.
• Tech also leads the ACC in three-point percentage defense, giving up a conference-low 31.2-percent from beyond the arc and a league-low 144 total threes. The Jackets have yielded 30.3 percent in conference games.
• Tech has shot 70.5 percent from the free throw line this year, its best figure since the 1994-95 season. The Jackets are converting 70.1 percent in ACC games, best since 2006-07.
• However, Tech has been outscored from the free throw line 11 times in 13 ACC games, and by a total of 244-176. In the second half of those games, the difference is 174-115. Only at NC State did the Yellow Jackets have the advantage (29-19), and they tied with Wake Forest (13-13).
• Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits - Marcus Georges-Hunt (16.5 ppg), Adam Smith (14.3), Nick Jacobs (10.9) and Charles Mitchell (10.7). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
• Tech has used seven different starting lineups this season. Marcus Georges-Hunt is the only Jacket to start every game.
• Georges-Hunt ranks ninth in the ACC in free throw percentage (81.3) and third in free throw attempts per game (7.0). Only Cat Barber of NC State, Grayson Allen of Duke and Michael Young of Pittsburgh also rank in the top 10 in both categories. Georges-Hunt is attempting 7.4 per ACC game.
• Nick Jacobs has scored in double figures in eight of Tech’s last 11 games, averaging 12.4 points (51.0 pct. FG, 21-of-27 FT) and 5.5 rebounds over that stretch.
• Charles Mitchell has recorded 14 double-doubles this season. He is bidding to become the first Tech player to average in double digits in points and rebounds since Alvin Jones in 2000-01. Only Jones and Malcolm Mackey (1991-92 and 1992-93) have done so since Tech joined the ACC.
• After a one-game drop to second, Mitchell moved back into the ACC lead in rebound average (10.4 rpg) following his 15-rebound effort against Wake Forest and career-high 19 at Clemson. His now tied with Brice Johnson of North Carolina for the conference lead. He ranks No. 2 in offensive rebounds (3.88 per game). Mitchell ranks 16th in the nation in rebound average and 12th in offensive rebounds.
• Mitchell has a chance to reach 1,000 career points and 900 career rebounds in the same game Saturday night. He needs two points (has 998) and five rebounds (has 895).
• Adam Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (2.92 per game, 34th in NCAA) and ranks seventh in percentage (40.2). He has averaged 2.92 three-pointers in ACC games and has made 37.3 percent of his tries.
• In 26 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (76) than Tech’s leader in each of the past seven seasons and the most for any Tech player since 2007-08.
ON THE THRESHOLD OF 1,000
Georgia Tech already has two career 1,000-point scorers on its roster, and could soon have two more.
Senior post players Charles Mitchell and Nick Jacobs are both getting close. Mitchell, who enters Wednesday’s game with 998 career points (580 at Tech), could reach the mark against Notre Dame. Jacobs’ recent string of double-digit games (eight in the last 11) has him within reach as well, with 963 points after Tuesday’s game at Florida State.
Marcus Georges-Hunt, who moved into 16th place on the Yellow Jackets’ all-time list against Wake Forest, has 1,556 career points, and Adam Smith, who began the season over the 1,000 plateau, now has 1,394.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH NOTRE DAME
Georgia Tech holds a 7-6 lead in the all-time series with Notre Dame that began in the 1940-41 season. The Fighting Irish have won the last four meetings, including a 72-64 win earlier this season on Jan. 13 at South Bend.
• Within a 12-day span last season, Notre Dame won in South Bend in double-overtime, 83-76, then completed the sweep with a 62-59 decision in McCamish Pavilion. The Irish also won the second meeting of 2013-14, a 65-62 win in South Bend.
• Prior to that, the Yellow Jackets had won five straight meetings between the two teams from 1972 through Tech’s 74-69 victory in McCamish Pavilion on Jan. 11, 2014, the team’s first meeting as Atlantic Coast Conference foes.
• All but one game in the series has been played on the two campuses, the exception being a 2007 meeting in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam. The Yellow Jackets erased a 9-point deficit in the final 5:11 and won the game on a three-point basket by Matt Causey with two seconds remaining.
• Tech is 2-5 in games played in South Bend, and 1-3 in Purcell Pavilion, including an 88-80 overtime win on Feb. 24, 1990, with the Jackets headed toward an ACC title and Final Four berth later that season.
• That game and a 90-80 Tech victory in Atlanta a year earlier were the only two face-offs ever between legendary coaches Bobby Cremins and Digger Phelps.
• Tech is 4-1 all-time against Notre Dame in Atlanta, three of those wins at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and one at McCamish Pavilion.
• Four of the five meetings before that were played with Whack Hyder as Tech’s head coach, and the Jackets won three of those, including an 82-62 win in 1972 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Phelps’ first season as the Fighting Irish head coach.
TECH PLAYERS VS. NOTRE DAME
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 18 points in the teams’ first meeting this season, and has averaged 13.2 points per game in five games against Notre Dame, including a high of 20 in the Jackets’ double-overtime defeat last year in South Bend. In the five games, he has shot 32.2 percent from the floor (4-of-14 on threes), but has gone 24-for-28 at the free throw line and has 16 assists against just five turnovers.
Charles Mitchell scored seven points with 13 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting this season, and has averaged 7.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in three games while at Tech. At Maryland, he faced the Irish once, scoring 10 points (5-7 FG) with seven boards.
Adam Smith scored 15 points, hitting 4-of-11 threes, in the first meeting this season. In two games against Notre Dame as a Hokie, he scored a total of four points and went 0-for-7 from three.
Nick Jacobs scored 10 points (5-14 FG) with four rebounds against the Irish in January, while Tadric Jackson scored seven (2-5 FG) after failing to scratch in two games against the Irish as a freshman.
Quinton Stephens has averaged 4.8 points (4-13 on threes) in five games against Notre Dame, with a high of eight in the double-overtime loss last season.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB).